Archive for September, 2009

Monday morning meanderings. Vol. 84 addendum

Sayre, Oklahoma

Not sure how I could have forgotten to include this item in my post yesterday.  The calf activity distracted me from finishing up our weekly activities.

Friday we were treated to a day in the city, Oklahoma City that is, by our friends Buddy and Lynnie Suthers.  Buddy and Lynnie both work at Trinity after long careers in the family race horse business.  At one time the Merrick Ranch was one of the largest quarter horse operations any where. While they are not nearly as big as they used to be they still love it and are keeping their hand in it.

So we went to the city for a big yearling sale at a very upscale, at least to me, sale barn.  You can read more about it HERE.  It is a very nice place and during the 3 day sale nearly 1000 horses were sold by auction.  While we were there one sold for $185,000.00 based, I understand on it’s breeding and potential.  It was quite a place and very interesting.

I had told our children and grandchildren that we were going to a horse sale and I was going to bid on some horses as an investment.  I was not serious and even thought the way I wrote it they would know it was a jokebut apparently they didn’t and thought Poppa had bought them a horse.  There were a few that sold for 2500-3K but that too is a little rich for me, since there is little room in our trailer for a horse.  It was a lot of fun.

From there we went to Remington Park,the OKC horse racing facility where Lynnie’s brother Joe Merrick had a couple fo horses running. It is a beautiful race track with indoor viewing from a beautiful restaurant and the Suther’s treated us to a great dinner and an insiders view to horse racing.  Linda did the wagering and hit it big when one of Joe’s horses won!  We even were invited to the winners circle with the owner and his family for the “win” picture.  That picture is posted on my facebook page if you are interested.  HERE

It was one of those days where everything we did was new and exciting and being with Buddy and Lynnie is always special because they are such real and regular people who have been has high up as you can go in the horse business and seen their lives radically changed to be Kingdom people who are also in the horse business.  Their family story is pretty cool to hear.

The last item has to be “my” Washington Huskies win over the mighty USC Trojans on Saturday.  It was on TV here so I was able to watch it all.  That sure was fun.  Whatever happens from here at least we know what it can be.


September 22, 2009 at 9:48 am 1 comment

Monday morning meanderings. Vol.84

Sayre, Oklahoma

I enjoy writing the meanderings each week because I get to see, right in front of me, what we have been up to.  It has also been a good way to fill our family and friends in on what we have been doing too.  So here is the 84th installment.

Item one.  It was a great first week back in Western Oklahoma and full of things one could only do here.  Got to go armadillo hunting for the first time (probably only time) which was an adventure.  These little creatures are not good for flower beds, nice grass or any other plant you like to look at.  They just rip it all up to get at the roots.  So they have to be removed and since I was right here on the “ranch” and I had a shotgun, I got the call.  One more task to add to my growing resume.

Item two.  Went with friend Yandy Yarbrough to put up a deer feeder which I wrote about already on the Juniper Tree.  Yandy works a regular job, is a life time cowboy, both working and rodeo, but what he really loves is hunting.  Riding with him in his truck is adventure because he never misses any animal that might be out there, no matter how much light there is.  One of the blessings of our life is the young families we get to enjoy relationship with here in Oklahoma.  It is so fun to be part of their lives and have a part in encouraging their relationship with the Father.

Item three.  We are beginning to settle in here, even though our regular spot is under construction.  We are having a cement pad poured to provide stability and a mud free place to park.  So we are parked nearby but without all our hookups.  It is just fine but we are looking forward to our “new” place.  Having these beautiful 100 acres as our Oklahoma home is really a blessing.

Item four.  Plans for Summit2 are well underway.  November 12-22 are the dates if you want in.  email me if you want information.  We are responsible for most of the administrative details of this conference and I do some teaching as well.  Here are a few summations of  summit1 speakers, I wrote after lasts years event: HERE and HERE.

Item five.  Jake the dog just barked me up to see a calf hanging out in front of the trailer.  Apparently an escapee from one of the pens here on the “ranch”.  We went out to try and herd him into one of the stalls in the barn but were unsuccessful.  Just another experience I rarely had in my past life.


I leave you with these words from my good friend Steve Grace: I would rather be a poor man serving Jesus than a rich man serving my own means. I would rather be weary fighting the good fight than well rested in my own irrelevant accomplishments. I would rather die for the cause of Christ than live for myself.  (Steve Grace)

September 21, 2009 at 3:24 pm 1 comment

Parables from a deer feeder.

Cheyenne, Oklahoma

Yesterday morning I went with one of our young friends, Yandy Yarbrough, isn’t that a great name, to put up a deer feeder.  Yandy is the consummate Oklahoma hunter with feeders in half a dozen places around western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle and he loves everything about hunting and it shows in the way he goes about it.  His wife Bobbi and daughters Yaleigh and Y’leigh love it too.

Coming from the Pacific Northwest, I knew nothing about deer feeders but I learned yesterday how it works.  The feeder has a large hopper, filled with corn or grain that is placed about six feet off the ground.  There is a battery or solar powered unit attached to the bottom of the hopper that is started by a timer that turns on twice a day and spins in such a way as to throw the corn in an eight foot or so circle around the feeder.  (If you want to know more about it check HERE)

The idea behind a deer feeder is to put it in the very best deer country you can in the feeding pattern of the deer and “train” the deer to come by the feeder until hunting season and then from your near by deer stand you can have a good chance of bagging the deer of your choice.  (in open country like it is out here, you would never get close enough to a deer to shoot it, especially with a bow, so feeders are a popular choice) 

I am no expert in hunting from a deer stand, or any other way, so I may not be exact in my description of this method of hunting, but I think I am close.

Because the deer feeder we were putting out yesterday was in an area where there were grazing cattle, we put up a barbed wire fence in a 20 foot or so radius around the feeder to keep the cattle out.  The deer can get in because they are agile enough to jump over or go under the fence.

The deer feeder is placed in the very best deer hunting area and it turns on twice a day and feeds the very best corn around a very set area.  The goal is to attract the biggest, healthiest, strongest buck deer (male) possible to the feeder on a routine, daily basis for a period of time, until he is acclimated to the area and feels safe.  Of course until hunting season opens, he is safe.

While we were doing this task yesterday the Spirit began to speak to me about how all of this was a lot like how we have done church over the years and why so many people have been hurt, stopped coming or had trouble getting in our churches.

Every Sunday morning, for years churches have gathered in the best and prescribed places and served up the finest of “food” targeted at the people who meet the standard we have for that particular church.  The goal is to get as many people to come to your particular feeder, and to come routinely, every sunday and eat as much “corn” as they can possibly put away.  In fact churches try their best (with, I think, good motives) to get people to eat as much as they can, because there is a belief that the more you eat (know), the better and more fit you will be.

Over time, if you come routinely and faithfully to the church (feeder), take in more spiritual food (corn) then every one else, and you are a male (buck) you can become the most attractive person at the church and great things are expected of you.

As time goes on you begin to feel safe at the church (feeder) and more and more is expected of you. Routinely you are given more and more responsibility and tagged as the person most likely to be a trophy of God’s grace.

Then you make a mistake and hunting season opens.  The place you routinely came for the best of food and where you had felt so safe and secure is not so protective.  For the deer, the mistake is tripping the motion sensitive camera and having his picture taken.  The hunter sees the buck for what he is and starts to figure out how to take him. 

For the person who as done all the right things in the “protective environment” of the church one mistake can be deadly.  You don’t ever want anyone to see your picture on a camera you didn’t know was there revealing your flaws to everyone who sees the photo.  Sometimes eating all the right food, growing stong in the “faith”, passing all the prescribed tests and becoming a trophy of God’s grace can make you more vulnerable than you have ever been.  The enemy sits in his “tree stand” ready to pick you off and often the enemy uses the people who were doing the feeding to take you out. 

We want our trophies without flaws and like the hunter, looking at the pictures of the bucks at his feeder, churches often pick out the one who has the least imperfections to tag for his trophy.  But also like the buck they aren’t often safe.

As we were setting out the feeder in that beautiful setting yesterday, a large herd of black cattle (Angus, I think) came around to see what was going on.  These were the ones we were putting up the barbed wire fence for.  By the time we were about done there were cattle all around the circular inclosure.  It was obvious they wanted in, but our goal was to make sure they didn’t get in and ruin the feeding station for the big bucks we were after.  Some of the corn we had scattered around had landed outside the fence and the cattle were eagerly scarfing up any kernel they could find.

The deer could go over or under the fence to get to the feeder but these cows were too big, to clumsy, to fat and besides they had flies all over them and dropped big blobs of poop all over.  (deer have very small and orderly poops) We did whatever we could to keep these big, fat, stinky animals away from our deer feeder.  They were not the species we were after.

More times than I care to admit, people came around churches I have been part of trying to get some of the corn laying outside the walls.  They found that food tastey so they came around eagerly looking for more.  It was obvious they were curious to know what was going on.  Sometimes what we were up to was so attractive we had people gathered all around the circle trying to get in.

But for whatever, of multiple reasons, they couldn’t jump the fence or get through the gate.  Maybe it was they were too needy and we just didn’t have enough corn to fill them up.  Perhaps it was the flies, or the smell or the color, or the fact that they were pushy, clumsy or too big to jump the fence.  Probably more often than not it was that their poops were not orderly or small but big and plopped all over everything.  Maybe they weren’t from the “species” we were really looking to attract.  Whatever, they didn’t get in.

All analogies break down and pushed too hard this one will too.  I don’t think churches intentionally shoot their wounded or leave them vulnerable to the enemies arrow but we do it none the less.  I don’t think we choose to reject those who are not like us or those who are too needy or messy, but we do it.

I love it that churches everywhere are trying harder than ever to be Kingdom churches, tearing down fences and making their feeders available to everyone.  One very attractive church I know about in Washington even shut their feeder down a couple of weeks ago and took their corn out into the community.  More than 1400 people left the feeder for a Sunday and without fanfare took corn to those who didn’t all look like them or weren’t as fit as they were and in doing so tore down fences that might have been keeping curious people from dropping by the feeder to see what was going on.  

For Kingdom people hunting season is over and our feeders are open to anyone.  But we need help understanding the fences we have built around our feeders so we can stop holding others from our tasty corn.  It also might help to stop thinking our corn or feeder was better than everyone else’s.

Any ideas?

September 17, 2009 at 11:42 am 3 comments

Monday morning meanderings. Vol.83

Sayre, Oklahoma

A young friend on Facebook, in a status update, made this comment: “I hate all blogs, all of them.”  So, if you don’t hate blogs continue reading the first meanderings in several weeks.

A lot has happened and nothing has happened.  After an eventful trip from Western Oklahoma to the Pacific Northwest we hung out with your adult children and our grandchildren.  Went to the beach, the zoo, Northwest Trek, Seattle, camped with everyone for a week, visited a few friends, preached a couple of times, went to church with Brad and Summer and the time went by.  All the grandkids are growing and changing and doing well.  Summer is growing and changing with granddaughter #2 and grandkid #6 and she is doing well too.  While there are challenges in each of their lives they seem to be handling them well and living life with hope and confidence.  I am very proud of our children and theirs. Most of our time was spent enjoying and caring for our family.

Item one. The trip back to Oklahoma took us through Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and back into Oklahoma.  We made stops outside Missoula, Montana at a favorite stopping spot for a couple of days.  We drove through the northwest gate into Yellowstone Park (up on of the steepest, windiest and narrowest roads we have travelled) and into Cody, Wyoming where we stayed on the grounds of the Cody Night Rodeo with our friend Dan.  Dan is from Sayre but was spending the summer announcing the rodeo in Cody.  He was our tour guide to the Buffalo Bill Cody Museum, one of the great museums in the west, in my opinion and around the beautiful Cody area.  He has become a Cody expert and it was fun to spend some time with him.

After Cody we drove up the Shell Canyon route to the top of the Big Horn mountains where we met my brother Mike and sister in law Vicky, for 5 days of camping and fishing in the most beautiful country anywhere.  We lived on the west side of the Big Horns when Mike and I were very young and then Linda and I and our family lived on the east side 20 years ago.  The Big Horns and the North Fork of the Tongue River are very special to all of us.  It was such a wonderful time and we really didn’t want to leave.  I would love to move back there again some day.  Just need a job!

The fishing was outstanding.  The North Fork is a meandering stream, through tall willows and so every corner is a new adventure. 20 years ago part of it was designated catch and release, barbless flies and lures only and it has turned that little stream into a monster cutthroat fishery.  We caught so many fish over 18 inches that the little ones (under 16 inches) were almost boring.  I caught 3-4 that were in the 22+ inch category, which in that river is a huge fish.  Probably weighed 3-4 pounds.  And, yes I did get a license!

There are moose every where up there as well and the four of us went “moose hunting” each evening.  Linda has some great pictures she will post somewhere I imagine.

It was a very peaceful and soul renewing time for all of us.  I remembered again why fly-fishing has been so important to my mental and soul health, over the years.  Life has been quite uncertain, in a lot of ways, the last 4 years but one constant in our lives has been the opportunity to travel and see places that have real meaning in our history and refresh our lives.

Item two.  What the future looks like here in Sayre begins to play out this morning.  Linda will go to work on some administrative details that have piled up related to the ministries we serve.  I will get some things rolling for Convergence and Summit2 and we will both begin getting back into the relationships that mean so much to us.  Things have changed here in many ways since we have been gone.  I am not sure what it all means or how it all works out but we have a Father who does and loves to see us happy and fulfilled so we will enjoy that blessing.

Seasons change and so do we.  That is the Father’s intention.  He loves to love us and He loves to have us dependent on Him and Him alone.  That is the hard one for most of us.  We have our agenda’s and our need to be in control but life works best when we are desperate for Him to lead us through each day.  That is where I am this morning.

Blessings on all of you who read this.  You can follow us on facebook (  and there will be some regular additions to the juniper tree as we move along.

September 14, 2009 at 9:38 am 5 comments

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